The First Ethereal by E L Williams

| 11 January 2024
minute reading time

A gifted empath, an imaginary friend (or is he?), a widowed ex-witch, an unknown enemy and a planet on the brink of collapse. Welcome to the captivating world of The First Ethereal – a gripping fantasy fiction novel, with a sprinkling of veganism thrown in, from the wonderful E L Williams.

Magical and mysterious adventure

The story opens as Lilly awakens from another nightmare in her tiny basement flat. In the last 12 months, it’s a place she’s been evacuated from seven times! The river is surging to unprecedented levels and the community centre has become a refuge for the displaced. Lilly is a super-empath and needs to guard herself from the flood of emotions. It’s an ability that throughout the story is seen as both a blessing and a curse. But luckily, she has Jack. He’s like her Jiminy Cricket – although a lot less likeable.

Jack’s a bit of a grump, a nag and at times rather overbearing yet this is the brilliance of Williams’ character development. Readers instantly warm to Storm, Veronica, Henri, even Margot but Jack, not so much. He’s the jealous ex-boyfriend, dominant big brother type that isn’t keen on Lilly’s companionship with Anchor, the cat – who takes an instant dislike to Jack, or Storm – the kind of spiritual mother hen you’d find in one of Glastonbury’s quaint coffee shops or second-hand bookstores.

Storm lives in the small market town of Pont Nefoedd in Wales though, the owner of Cordelia’s café and bookstore. When her dog, Hope, runs from the rains it’s Lilly who finds her. This chance encounter is what sets the wheels turning on a fantastical adventure for a small group of unlikely heroes – a café owner, ex-vicar and keeper of a magical library – to save the world from imminent destruction.

Ascension to the age of ethereal

Bound by destiny, Storm, Lilly, Jack and co find themselves in a race against time to decipher a prophecy about an entity that all life on earth is ultimately dependent on – the First Ethereal. Williams does a superb job with the narrative, keeping you guessing at every turn. Is it Lilly? Is it Jack? Is it Storm? Is it someone else? Well, that’d be saying too much for now.

Should the unlikely lot fail in their quest to help the world ascend the vibration scale – to the age of ethereal – then all is doomed. No peace, no happiness, no love… just the deep dark depths of misery and despair. It’s quite the task and makes for a real page-turner.

It truly is a thoroughly enjoyable read, for all ages, that tackles some very real and modern issues such as the climate crisis and our complicated relationship with animals. Then if that wasn’t enough and you want to find out what a decade of peace, love and healing looks like, then get straight on to The Blessing of Crows, book two of the ethereal world series.

Both The First Ethereal and The Blessing of Crows are available from the Viva! Shop now.

About the author

E L Williams grew up in the Welsh Valleys in a tiny house full of books and stories of magic.

Having worked as a sustainability advisor for many years, Emma’s writing is influenced by her desire to protect and cherish the natural world.

About the author
Lex Rigby
Lex joined Viva! in 2018 after more than a decade campaigning to defend, conserve and protect marine wildlife. As Viva!’s Head of Investigations she is responsible for coordinating hard-hitting investigations to support Viva!’s groundbreaking campaigns, with the ultimate aim of growing veganism in the UK and increasing support for Viva!.

View author page | View staff profile.

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